Author’s Note: Just as I promised, I’m publishing a chapter in October! There’s cursing, mention of teen sex, and other stuff. So, if you don’t like that, please don’t read.
Being grounded was weird. This was pretty much the first time ever that I found myself in that kind of trouble with my folks, and they didn’t really seem to know how to punish me properly. I think they were mostly confused by the whole situation.
How in the world did they know I was at the club in the first place? Well, as it turned out, Tamsen, the girl who used to babysit me when she younger, was now working as the bartender at the Chill Out. And while I didn’t notice her, with my attention mostly on Morgan, she certainly noticed and recognized me. And she didn’t waste any time calling Mom and informing her I was at the club.
I don’t know if that was the moment my folks flipped out at me or the moment they arrived at the club to find a furious Rashida heading out. When they stopped her to ask what was going on, she told them exactly what she thought of me and why I warranted such an opinion.
Yeah, I think that later part was what tipped the scales against me. And when Dad stormed in to find me getting cozy with Morgan, he only got angrier.
As it was, I was supposed to come home straight from school and from now on, I couldn’t go to any of my friends’ houses or out with them, and I would have extra chores around the house.
I didn’t get my electronics taken away, though. Which really could’ve been just another part of the punishment.
My phone rang nonstop with angry texts and calls from my cousins and after the fifth time of getting yelled at by them, I honestly just stopped picking up their calls. The texts kept on coming though and I was considering smashing the little apparatus against the wall.
Apparently, another person I didn’t notice at the club was Rashida’s younger sister Clara, and she also didn’t waste any time calling her older sister over to the “crime scene.” As it was, at the moment Rashida received her call, Tiffani was over at the Sheppard household, since she was both her friend and her older brother Kane’s girlfriend. After our fight at school, Rashida was already in a shitty mood and my cousin and her brother were the ones calming her down. After she received Clara’s phone call, stormed out of the house, and came back in hysterics… well, I was pretty much a complete monster in my cousins’ eyes.
The lack of communication from the guys was an indicator that they were also pissed at me. Usually Sergio would call every once in a while to chat and even the quieter Trevor would text once in a while to see if we were up for getting food at the dinner. Now – no texts or calls.
I was really not looking forward to school on Monday.
I knew I messed up with Rashida. I knew I should’ve ended things with her when our relationship began to bother me. But as she was my friend first, I really didn’t want to call that shot. And now, I’ve just made things so much worse.
I just hoped I’d be able to patch things up with my friends.
Which, didn’t prove to be in the cards, as it turned out.
Morning classes went by without incident. The only person in them who could’ve made trouble was Trevor and he nodded to me when he saw me, so I figured the situation wasn’t as bad as I thought.
But by the time lunch rolled around… I didn’t even make it to the cafeteria before I was met with the stony faces of the rest of our friend group.
“How could you! How fucking could you, Phoenix?!” Sergio blew up at me. “How could you betray Rashida like this?!”
“Seriously, Phoenix?” Jeanne shook her head. “You of all people should’ve known what your actions would do to Rashi. She was red eyed this morning – she’s still really upset.”
“I just can’t believe you went with Morgan after we’ve warned you about her, man,” Trevor shook his head. “Seriously, that chick is bad news.”
“It doesn’t matter who he went after!” Sergio exploded again. “How could he cheat on Rashida? She’s been into him for so long. Do you know how much she cares about you, Phoenix? Well, do you?”
“Woah, man!” I tried to defend myself. “I know she’s great. I know I’ve messed up. But honestly, our relationship wasn’t going so great lately. In fact, on Friday, we’ve decided to take a break.”
I really had no idea why Sergio of all the people was giving me the hardest time over this. He was there all of those times when Rashida was at her clingiest. Surely, he had to see my side of the story at least a little, right? And why was he so confrontational all of a sudden? This was so unlike him.
“You’ve decided to take a break? And the first thing you do is party it up with some cheap slut who isn’t worth one hair on Rashida’s head?! She’s freaking perfect man and you’ve hurt her!” he was practically out of breath with all of this shouting.
“Hey, you should cool it before we all get sent to detention for causing a scene,” Jeanine piped in quietly. She’s been silent this whole time, watching the situation with worry written all over her face.
“No I shouldn’t,” Sergio spit back. “He’s an idiot and I don’t want to even be in his company at this moment.”
“Sounds great! Then why are you still here, yelling at me? Why are you blowing it all out of proportion at this moment?” I threw at him. “I know I’ve made a mess, ok? But if you think Rashida is so perfect, why don’t you date her for a change? Because it sounds like you’re in love with her or something!”
As soon as the words left my mouth, I knew they were true. Whenever Rashida would come up in conversation, he never had anything but good things and praises to say about her. And he would always get this smile on his face when anyone mentioned her or when he talked to her… Sergio was in love with Rashida. He was just too non-confrontational to say anything, especially since she and I were dating. And I was truly an idiot for never realizing it before.
Even the others were speechless.
“You know what, Phoenix? That’s exactly what I’m going to do,” he announced quietly before walking away from all of us.
“Damn, this is better than a soap opera,” Trevor whispered under his breath.
“I had no idea,” Jeanine whispered in surprise.
“Neither did I. Although, it does make some sense,” Jeanne admitted. “It still doesn’t make what you did ok, Phoenix. I thought better of you.”
She walked away, dragging Trevor with her.
Jeanine was still here. She didn’t say anything to me during the entire exchange, although I doubted it she thought anything positive about me at this point either. That sucked – she and I used to be good friends before…
“Hey, I’m not going to say I approve of what happened this weekend, but I do think they are overreacting,” she surprised me.
“You do? You aren’t angry at me too?” I was incredulous.
“I feel like maybe I should be, but not really. We were friends before all of this crap happened,” she smiled. “Don’t worry about them. They’ll cool down soon enough. Well, maybe not Sergio, but it kind of seems like he’s been bottling up his feelings for a while now. He’ll need some time to figure everything out.”
“Thanks. For not going against me as well. It’s good to know I have at least one person on my side,” I smiled. Jeanine and I were good friends since childhood. I wondered why we’ve stopped hanging out lately, but between me and Rashida and Jeanine and her boyfriend, we didn’t have as much time for each other.
“Yeah, well, just take care, ok? I don’t really know Morgan all that well, so I can’t say anything about her. But I hope if you’re serious about her, things go better with her than they did with Rashida. I really have to run now.”
I really hoped she was right. I didn’t want to lose all of my friends because of a failed relationship. Especially not when there was someone who liked my ex more than I did.
But as the days went on, the coolness stayed there. There wasn’t really such obvious hostility between me and them at this point, but I think the others mostly tried to avoid me. And that sucked.
On the plus side, no one was giving me any trouble for spending time with Morgan. Now that I was officially single, there wasn’t any reason for me to avoid her. And since the other’s kept away from me, I was free to be with her as much as I wanted.
And I did want to be with her. Morgan was intoxicating. Her voice, her personality, her appearance… She had the effect of a drug on me.
This was it. This was what you were supposed to feel for the person you were dating. Despite my best efforts to convince myself that my previous relationship had it, that feeling simply wasn’t there.
With Morgan, I didn’t care if the teachers caught us in the wrong places, at the wrong times, doing things you weren’t supposed to be doing on school grounds. We were having fun, we were both exhilarated, and rules seemed stupid.
Of course, she and I saw each other off the school grounds as well. As soon as my month of being grounded was up, we began to meet up at local clubs and hangouts, as it seemed that Morgan was never short of places where one could have a fun time.
Although, really, any outing with her usually turned into heavy make out sessions. As it was, we never finished our dates until late, late at night.
My parents were kind of confused with my behavior, I think. They kept asking if everything was alright and I could see some sort of concern in their eyes, but really, they had no reason to worry. I was spending my time with a girl I was crazy about but I wasn’t letting my schoolwork lag, so there was no trouble.
Besides, after that first time, I put extra effort into making sure they won’t catch me anywhere I wasn’t supposed to be.
However, there was one thing Morgan and I haven’t done so far – sex. It wasn’t for the lack of wanting to; we just couldn’t figure out a good time and place for it. I had the feeling Mom and Dad wouldn’t be too ecstatic if Morgan stayed the night with us, they barely saw her one or two times. And according to Morgan, her folks were pretty strict, so her house was out of question.
It took over a month for us to get a place arranged. I picked up Morgan from her house and she informed me she had a surprise for us. The surprise? She rented out the lakeside cabin not far from where I lived.
This was perfect. She didn’t have to say anything, but it was obvious why she rented out the place.
We made small talk on the way to the cabin, she flirted with me, I tried to flirt back. In reality, my hands were getting sweaty and I could feel my heartbeat speed up before we even arrived there. I had no idea if I was going to do well or not, and I didn’t want to embarrass myself with Morgan. I knew I wasn’t the first guy she’s dated and I didn’t want to seem like a complete newbie, even though I was…
“Man, I wish Mom and Dad didn’t polish off that bottle of wine they had in their pantry,” Morgan laughed when we got to the cabin. “It was this really nice Pinot Noir and I’ve had my eye on it for weeks! I was going to bring it with me, but they just had to drink it yesterday.”
“I don’t know,” I shrugged. “I’ve never actually had wine, so I wouldn’t be able to tell if it’s nice or not.”
“Oh, trust me, most people who do drink usually can’t tell the difference either. It’s just supposed to be fashionable to say you’re a wine connoisseur,” she laughed. “I’ve had it. Snuck it out of my folks’ cellar a few times. It’s pretty good, especially red. I’ll treat you sometime, promise.”
“Sounds like a plan.”
Awkward silence. Well, awkward on my end. Morgan just smiled and leaned back on the couch.
“So, what are we doing tonight?” She inquired.
“What would you like to do?” I tried not to blush.
“I thought we could relax, just the two of us,” she shrugged.
“We are all alone here, aren’t we? It’s kind of nice,” I admitted.
“I know right? No chance of random teachers interrupting and yelling at us for making out in the conference room!” She laughed about what happened last week. My parents were not amused when they got a call from the school – I couldn’t believe I wasn’t grounded this time.
Instead of laughing with her, I just smiled quietly. I knew what Morgan was getting at – she certainly didn’t book the cabin for us to just play charades. I was just really nervous. It was silly, right?
No. I wanted this. This meant I had to man up and take the lead. More or less, at least.
“So, you wanna…?” I nodded towards the door to the bedroom.
“Would I even be here if I didn’t? Come on. Do you need condoms?” she offered.
“Thanks, I already bought some,” I assured her as we moved to the door.
Inside she quickly took of her warm clothes, under which, as it turned out, she was wearing only a bra and panties. Damn, she looked good. I tried to pretend my pulse didn’t quicken at the sight of her like this and moved to undress myself. Really should’ve gone to the gym when Quiang offered to train me. Really.
The awkwardness disappeared as soon as her lips were on mine. It was only natural when we moved to the bed, with her falling on top of me, her soft hair tickling my chest. We continued to make out for what seemed like an eternity, neither of us in a hurry to move to the next part of the evening. It was going to happen. But for the moment, the two of us simply enjoyed one another.
“Are you sure you haven’t done this before?” she whispered. “You’re good with your hands, Phoenix. Like, really good.”
“Maybe I’m a natural?” I breathed out before her lips were once again on top of mine.
Bang, Bang, Bang!!!
“What the hell?” We both pulled away from one another, with confusion.
“Wait, you did book the cabin for the entire evening, right?” I tried to think of a reason someone would be knocking on the door at this time.
“Yes, I did. Why else would I have the keys? Wait, I don’t think I locked the door!!!” She moved to stand up, just as two familiar faces burst into the room.
“Aha! Gotcha!” A familiar-looking guy from my school yelled out. What was his name? Stefan? Dominic?
The other guy was Jeanine’s older brother, Brannon and he looked disgusted.
“Dominic was right, then? You really are stringing us all along, Morgan?” he accused.
“What the hell are you two doing here?” She was furious.
“I’m just trying to bring the truth to the masses,” the blond explained. “Hey, Phoenix, right? I’ve seen you around before. So, you see, dear Morgan here has a scheme. She is somewhat of a serial dater.”
“Shut up, asshole!” she yelled.
“Pot calling kettle black, no?” Brannon was now yelling at her. “So what, you were going to sleep with him, dump him the way you did with Dominic, and then the repeat the process with me? Who’s the next target?”
“Fuck off, all of you!” Morgan was seriously furious.
In the midst of all this, I found my clothes, and moved towards the door. This was getting weirder by the minute and I didn’t want to be in the center of everything in case the situation came to blows.
“Sorry about your evening, man,” Dominic apologized. “I just really wanted to expose Morgan to both you and Brannon and this was as good a time as any.”
“Ok, so what are you saying, she just sleeps with and then dumps guys?” I was trying to wrap my head around it.
“Pretty much. She did just that with me and then I found out she did the same with three other guys before me. It turns out she always has a next person of interest on hand. You’re her current guy, Brannon was supposed to be the next one,” he sighed. “She’s not a bad person, really. I don’t think so, at least. She just has some problems that she really needs to get help with. Professional help, that is. ‘Cause that kind of behavior just isn’t healthy.”
“I see.” Well, this night was pretty much ruined. I moved to leave, but Morgan blocked my path before I could exit the cabin.
“So what, you’re just going to leave me? You believe them over me?” she screamed.
“Actually, yes.” I answered simply.
“Is this some weird male solidarity thing? What makes their word better than mine?” she was furious, but after my breakup with Rashida, I wasn’t going to deal with anymore relationship bullshit.
“So, you didn’t dump Dominic before starting to date me? Or wait, were you still dating him when you got together with me? And are you currently also dating Brannon? Look, I know Brannon and his entire family – he wouldn’t lie to me. Also, if they aren’t telling the truth, then why do you look so freaking guilty right now?”
“Oh, please, like you didn’t come to the club with me while you were still with that clinger of yours!”
“You know what, yes, I fucked up and I admit it. I should’ve ended things properly with her before seeing anyone else. But first things first, don’t you dare talk bad about Rashida – she has nothing to do with what happened here. And second, we are done here. I’m glad those two showed up when they did. Have a nice life, Morgan.”
With that, I finally stormed out and walked all the way home. In the cold, without a jacket on, since Morgan drove us to the cabin.
This night was a complete disaster and I felt like a major idiot for falling for Morgan’s charms the way I did. What could I say? The girl had charm, no wonder she was able to pull this scheme on several guys. It seemed like she worked hard for the reputation she had…
When I arrived home, everyone was already asleep, which meant whatever lecture I was bound to receive after tonight was going to be saved for the morning. Which was just fine. I had plenty to think about without getting grilled about my behavior.
For starters, I was going to think about something other than girls for a change. Because, obviously, my luck with them was not the best.